Permits & Reservations

historic image of man at lodge reservation desk with employee holding luggage
Lake McDonald Lodge reservation desk, 1920s

NPS Archive/R.E. Marble


Some services and activities in Glacier National Park either require reservations or reservations are recommended.


Lodges fill up quickly and reservations are very strongly encouraged. Addresses and phone numbers are found on the Eating and Sleeping page.


Most campgrounds in Glacier are first-come first-served with the exception of Fish Creek, St. Mary, some of Many Glacier, and half of the group sites in Apgar which can reserved on Reservations through must be made 3 days in advance.

Backcountry Permits

Backcountry sites can be reserved in advance starting March 15 for groups of 1-8 campers and March 1 for groups of 9-12 campers. There is a $40 application fee ($10 administrative fee + $30 fulfilled trip request fee) for EACH application you submit. The camping fee of $7 / night / person is due upon picking up your permit. Applications can be submitted ONLINE ONLY.

Visit our Backcountry Advance Reservations page for more information on how to submit an application.

Ranger-led Activities

A handful of our ranger-led activities require reservations or tickets due to limited space. Details can be found in the monthly Ranger-led Activity Schedule.

Other Services

Guided Tours, like bus tours, guided hikes, horseback rides, and boat trips are often available without reservations, but if your trip plans are not flexible you should contact the companies providing those services directly and make reservations prior to coming to the park.




Aquatic invasive species are a growing concern. Freshwater zebra and quagga mussels have steadily advanced westward, transported on trailered boats. Protecting the waters of the Glacier requires immediate action, both by the parks and by every boater (be they kayaker or sport fisher). Learn about the park's boat inspection and permit program.


Scientists representing academic institutions, government agencies, or private research organizations who are interested in obtaining a research and collection permit should visit the Research Permits page.


Special Use

Glacier National Park is home to many beautiful landscapes and settings that are ideal venues for a variety of special activities such as events, wedding ceremonies, and film and photography projects. Most special events and activities held in the park require a special use permit, issued only after the National Park Service determines that the activities involved will not impair park values and resources. Please note that there are usage limits for the number of people and vehicles for any special activity.

Filming and Photography Permits

Permits are generally issued for photography, filming, and associated sound recordings to ensure protection of resources, to prevent significant disruption of normal visitor uses, or when they involve props, models, professional crews and casts or set dressings. Permits are required for access to areas normally closed to the visiting public, or either before or after normal visitation hours. The following procedures/guidelines apply to issuing permits for commercial filming and still photography. If you are interested in conducting a commercial instructional photography workshop, please visit Commercial Use Permits.


Commercial Operators

Federal regulations prohibit engaging in or soliciting any business in park areas, except in accordance with the provisions of a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States. As in other National Park Service areas, commercial visitor services or other commercial activities may be provided only by those holding an authorization from the United States.

In Glacier National Park, concessions contracts have been issued to provide certain visitor services. These services include transportation and tour services, food services, backpacking and day hiking guide services, boat tours and small boat rentals, horseback riding, lodging, and retail sales.

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Noncommercial or Nonprofit Groups

Noncommercial or nonprofit groups leading trips into Glacier require a permit. Please complete the application for a Special Use Permit and return with and your $100 non-refundable application fee, proof of your organization's nonprofit status (such as recognition from the IRS of tax-exempt eligibility) and proof of liability insurance with the additionally insured listed as "United States Government, the Department of the Interior, National Park Service, Glacier National Park, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936". Mail everything to the following address:

Attn: Special Use Permit Office
Glacier National Park
PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

With the Special Use Permit, nonprofit groups are charged normal visitor entry fees for a 7 day pass for each vehicle with a capacity of 15 or fewer. More information about other vehicle sizes and pass options is available on our website under Entrance Fees.


Spreading of Ashes

Regarding spreading of ashes in Glacier National Park, we, must abide by the terms outlined in Title 36, "Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.62(b), which states in part: "the scattering of human ashes from cremation is prohibited, except pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit, or in designated areas according to conditions which may be established by the Superintendent."

In Glacier National Park, human ashes may be disbursed only in undeveloped areas of the Park; that is, not within 200 feet of any developed location, such as a road, trail, building, parking lot, boat ramp, swimming beach, campground, lake, etc. The ashes must be scattered and not deposited in any type of container. No marker or memorial of any sort may be placed at the site.

Also, please keep in mind that winter-like weather can occur at any time during the year, usually November through April, which may make access to a particular area impossible.

When you are ready to disburse of the ashes, send in a special use permit application and a letter will be sent to you which will serve as the official permit required by the citation referenced above and the instructions regarding location and notification will serve as the terms and conditions required by the citation. This letter or a copy thereof must be in the possession of at least one member of the party present when human ashes are scattered in the park.



If you are interested in getting married in Glacier National Park, the following information will be helpful in planning your ceremony.

To be married within Glacier National Park a Special Use Permit is required. The Application for Special Use Permit form is to be completed in full and returned, along with a non-refundable fee in the amount of $100.00; payment may be made by check or money order (made out to National Park Service) or by credit card. Once we have received your application, we will contact you to discuss availability. Flexibility on date, time, and location can help you to obtain a wedding permit. We will be calling you from a government phone line, which will show up as "restricted" or "unknown". If you have additional questions, please contact our Special Park Use office at (406) 888-5960.

The information on the Application for Special Use Permit will assist us in accommodating your request, and the Special Use Permit will provide an avenue for communicating any special concerns or conditions regarding your use of the area that you have requested. The permit also serves as documentation of our agreement regarding the terms and conditions under which the special use of the Park will be approved. Please be sure that the address you use on the application is a reliable place for you to receive mail. When your request is approved a Special Use Permit will be mailed to you for signature. The permit must be returned to the park within 10 business days prior to your event or the permit may be cancelled.

There are several locations were wedding ceremonies are held in Glacier National Park. The more popular areas are at the Apgar and Fish Creek Amphitheaters, and on weekdays at the Fish Creek picnic area. Pictures of suggested wedding locations can be found on our Flickr site.

Additional factors you must consider for the ceremony are:

1. There is always the possibility that due to unforeseen circumstances, such as rain, a snowstorm, or other emergency, that the ceremony would have to be canceled or moved to another location. Historically weather is most favorable during July and August.

2. Please limit the number of vehicles in your party to 10 as parking space is limited. For large gatherings you should consider car pooling or buses to transport your guests. Special Use Permits issued for most facilities and areas will be limited to four hours. Activities may not interfere with normal visitor use of the Park; therefore, areas will not be closed to public access during the event.

3. Park personnel will not be available to offer special assistance for traffic, parking, or other logistical needs associated with your wedding.

4. All participants associated with a Special Park Use event such as a wedding must observe and comply with all Park regulations, including those regarding the storage, handling of food and disposal of trash and garbage. The use of rice or birdseed is not permitted. The area used for your ceremony is to be policed and left in the same condition as it was prior to your event.

5. Amplification of sound before, during, or after the ceremony and connection to park utilities is not permitted.

6. Animals are to be kept on a leash at all times and under physical control and pets, other than service animals are prohibited in the backcountry, along lakeshores and waterways.

7. All guests will be required to purchase an entrance pass to enter the park (including periods when the entrance is not staffed) unless they are: 15 years of age or younger; are 62 years of age or older with a valid Interagency Senior Pass (formerly Golden Age Passport): an Interagency Access (Golden Access); or Interagency or Glacier National Park Annual Pass.

For information regarding the use of facilities and accommodations operated by the lodging concessioner, please contact Glacier National Park Lodges at 855-733-4522.

If you have additional questions regarding your wedding activities in Glacier National Park you may contact the Special Use Permits Office at 406-888-5960.

Last updated: July 29, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936


(406) 888-7800

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